September 15, 2006

Uncomfortable History

Several days ago, Pope Benedict XVI recounted comments made by 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel II Paleologos.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Predictably, Muslims around the world are upset by the recollection:

Turkey's top Islamic cleric, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, asked Benedict on Thursday to apologize about the remarks and unleashed a string of accusations against Christianity, raising tensions before the pontiff's planned visit to Turkey in November on what would be his first papal pilgrimage in a Muslim country.

Bardakoglu said he was deeply offended and called the remarks "extraordinarily worrying, saddening and unfortunate."

On Thursday, when the pope returned to Italy, Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said, "It certainly wasn't the intention of the pope to carry out a deep examination of jihad (holy war) and on Muslim thought on it, much less to offend the sensibility of Muslim believers."

Lombardi insisted the pontiff respects Islam. Benedict wants to "cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward the other religions and cultures, obviously also toward Islam," Lombardi said.

On Friday, Salih Kapusuz, a deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, said Benedict's remarks were either "the result of pitiful ignorance" about Islam and its prophet, or worse, a deliberate distortion of the truths.

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz blurted out in comments made to the state-owned Anatolia news agency. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades."

Would Salih Kapusuz really like to look at the history of the spread of Islam before saying the remarks were "the result of pitiful ignorance?"

I strongly suspect not.

Mohammed himself spread the religion he created by the sword from the Battle of Badr onward. The faith was installed throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe by the strength of the sword as much as conversion. From Saudi Arabia through the Hindu Kush ( Kush comes from the Arab root "kushar", or slaughter, literally meaning "slaughter of the Hindus") to Andalusia in what is now modern day Spain, violent jihad in the name of Allah has been the constant companion to the spread of Islam. Islamic violence still marks every corner of the world touched by the amusingly titled "Religion of Peace."

Islam remains the only major world religion that has a primary prophet that advocated and practiced violence to spread his faith. Mohammed led campaigns from Badr to Uhud to the Battle of the Trench and beyond, establishing a long tradition of nearly 1,400 years of violent jihad.

Kapusuz can make reference to the Dark Ages if he would like, but Christian Europe slowly emerged from the Dark Ages through the Renaissance and Reformation; five hundred years later, Islam has yet to emerge from barbarity, a fact revealed every day in newspapers in every nation around the world, as they print stories of Muslims killing "infidels" and subjugating their own people to draconian rule in societies that have been in cultural stasis for over a millennia.

Muslims are of course free to follow their own beliefs, but it is quite telling that they are unwilling or unable to come to grips with the reality of their own history.

Muslims can cry "foul" all they want, but the simple truth of the matter is that the observations of Islam from a man who died 581 years ago still ring true.

How have Muslims responded to Pope Benedict's retelling of Emperor Manuel II Paleologos's 14th century observation?

They've responded with demands for an apology, predictable threats of violence, and perhaps the bombing of a church in Gaza.

It remains to see how many people may die as Islam proves how peaceful it is.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 15, 2006 08:44 AM | TrackBack

Seems that Allahpundit was right the Pope is marked for death, the only problem is the Pope is absolutely correct in his assessment of Modern Islam, even if he was quoting historical documents; it is still a death cult.

To defend your recent actions with the argument that since centuries ago Muslims and Jews were killed by Crusading Christian knights is akin to saying that Modern Islamists are no better than Medieval man and to ignore the thousands of years of peace that Christendom has preached after realizing that its crusades were not in line with the teaching of Christ. It’s damning me to death simply for the fact that a possible relative one thousand years ago did something stupid, and I am to be held accountable for that act. Christianity in a small short period of its 2006 year history may have slipped off the path of its teaching for several decades, but it regained its footing and refocused itself on the true teachings of its founder, Islam, has never strayed from its founder’s word and for its 2000+ year history it has indiscriminately killed any who stood in its way.

Perhaps the disconnect between Modern Islam and Historical Christianity is because Modern Islam is still rooted in the 15th Century and not the 21st Century. If Muslim countries follow the advice of Hakem al-Mutairi, secretary general of Kuwait's Islamic Umma, or Islamic Nation, party, urging Muslim countries to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican until the pope apologizes for what Mr. al-Mutairi called his "calumnies" against Islam, then perhaps we should hold these same people responsible for their calumnies against humanity.

Posted by: David M at September 15, 2006 09:11 AM

I didn't know about this pope or what to think of how he would do, but this one statement shows he has more than our leaders on both sides.

Posted by: David Caskey at September 15, 2006 10:37 AM

The Islamofacists will continue to target Christian sites simply because they are Christian. The church in gaza obviously has nothing to do with the Pope's comments and should not be attacked for it. Despite this racist attack on the church and "collective punishment", the islamofacists will claim racism and collective punishment the next time something doesn't go their way. How hypocritical.

Posted by: jay at September 15, 2006 11:24 AM

What, the Muslums are upset? I dont believe you. They are such a easy going bunch.

Posted by: Web at September 15, 2006 11:52 AM


"Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (Matthew 10:34-35)

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence. (Luke 19:26-27)


If you want the truth you must stop quoting out of context, once this is done for the Bible you see the truth THEN DO THE SAME FOR THE QURAN!

Muslims believe in all Prophets sent by Allah, and so do not misuse or misinterpret the religious texts of other faiths in order to defame them. Even in recent times, Muslims have and are facing genocidal campaigns in Bosnia, Kosova, Chechnia, Kashmir, and Palestine - but they have not questioned Judaism and Christianity. Such spirit needs to be reciprocated.

Amazing how a tiny bit of in-depth bit of research can reveal the truth:

Misconception 7

Islam tolerates the killing of innocents because:

o Muslims can be terrorists

o Muslims engage in `holy wars' (jihad)

o Islam spread by the sword

o it has a harsh and cruel judicial system

This misconception is one of the most widely held misconceptions about Islam today. And yet in the Qur'an, the Creator unambiguously states (translation),

[17:33] Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)

Based on this verse, it is Islamically unlawful to murder anyone who is innocent of certain crimes. It is well to remember at this point the distinction made above between Qur'an and Sunnah, and the Muslims: only the Qur'an and Sunnah are guaranteed to be in accordance with what the Creator desires, whereas the Muslims may possibly deviate. Hence, if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and certainly the action cannot be claimed to have been done "in the name of Islam."

It should be clear, then, that "Muslim terrorist" is almost an oxymoron: by killing innocent people, a Muslim is commiting an awesome sin, and Allah is Justice personified. This phrase is offensive and demeaning of Islam, and it should be avoided. It is hoped that as the general level of public awareness and understanding of Islam increases, people will keep "terrorism" and "Islam" separate from each other, not to be used in the same phrase.

Another reason advanced in support of the misconception is that the Creator has imposed `jihad' on us. The term "holy war" is from the time of the Crusades and originated in Europe as a rallying cry against the Muslims in Jerusalem. Jihad is an Arabic word meaning struggle, but in the context of many verses in the Qur'an, it carries the meaning of military struggle, or war. Allah gradually introduced the obligation of military struggle to the Muslim community at the time of the Messenger (saas). The first verse ever revealed in that connection is as follows (translation),

[22:39] Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them;

This verse lays down the precondition for all war in Islam: there must exist certain oppressive conditions on the people. The Creator unequivocally orders us to fight oppression and persecution, even at the expense of bloodshed as the following verse shows (translation),

[2:190-192] And fight in the cause of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the reward of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

As one might imagine, the method of military struggle has been clearly and extensively defined in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Since this subject is a huge one, we simply summarize part of it by noting that it is unlawful to kill women, children, the infirm, the old, and the innocent. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[4:52:257] Narrated 'Abdullah: During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah's Apostle disapproved the killing of women and children.

A related misconception to jihad is often propagated by Muslims who say that "Jihad is only for self-defense of physical borders." The Qur'an and Sunnah refute this notion categorically. As the verses cited above show, jihad is obligatory wherever there is injustice, and Muslims need not acknowledge imaginary lines around the earth when it comes to upholding this obligation. The Messenger of Allah (saas) has also commented on this extensively in the Sunnah. From the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find that,

[4:52:65] Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked, "A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah's Cause?" The Prophet said, "He who fights that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah's Cause."

Hence, the Creator obligates us to fight wherever people are being grossly deprived of freely hearing or practicing the Message of Allah as contained in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Sayyed Qutb, a famous Muslim scholar eloquently discusses the notion of jihad and self-defense in his book Milestones,

"If we insist on calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word `defense' and mean by it `defense of man' against all those elements which limit his freedom. These elements take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well as of political systems, based on economic, racial, or class distinction."

A third reason often cited for the misconception about Islam which says that this way of life tolerates the killing of innocents is that the judicial system of Islam is unnecessarily harsh. This reason is weak in two respects. First, it presupposes that human beings are more just and more merciful than the Creator, and therefore we can change the law. Second, it is often based on gross oversimplifications of Islamic law, such as saying "all thieves get their hands cut off."

The Qur'an and Sunnah make it clear that the law of retaliation (or equality) governs us for murder and physical injury, but forgiveness is better as the following verses from the Qur'an show (translation),

[2:178] O you who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then prosecution (for the bloodwit) should be made according to usage, and payment should be made to him in a good manner; this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy; so whoever exceeds the limit after this he shall have a painful chastisement.

[42:40-43] The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a grievous penalty. And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.

The Creator ordained the law of retaliation on us knowing full well that we might question it. In many non-Muslim societies today, there are ongoing debates about the death penalty. In Islam, this discussion is moot: the Creator has decided the matter for us. He has however given us an interesting verse in the Qur'an which advises to consider the matter carefully if we want to understand it (translation follows),

[2:179] And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O people of understanding, that you may guard yourselves.

Most people are also unaware of the stringent conditions which must be met for the law of retaliation to be applicable. The Sunnah is full of examples of the Messenger of Allah showing us when the law's preconditions were fulfilled. For example, a thief is only liable to lose his or her hand if the item stolen exceeds a certain value, and if it is proven that the item was taken from its normal resting place. Stealing food is not punishable by the loss of one's hand, and other items are exempt as well. This is just an example of how gingerly the law is applied in Islam.

Finally, another reason advanced for this prevalent misconception is that Islam `spread by the sword'. It should be clear by now that we must always distinguish between the Qur'an and Sunnah and the Muslims when it comes to determining what the Creator has asked of us. Allah has stated clearly in the Qur'an (translation),

[2:256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever rejects Satan (and what he calls to) and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handhold, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

Hence, it is impossible to accept Islam under duress. Even if misguided Muslims were to try to `force' Islam somehow on others, it would not be accepted by the Creator based on this verse.

Historical arguments that try to demonstrate that Muslims did not `convert others by force' are actually secondary to the argument given above. However, it is worth noting that historically, Islam did spread by peaceful means. The Message of the Creator was conveyed to Africa and to southeast Asia by trading Muslims, and today the largest Muslim country in the world is Indonesia. The military expeditions that led to the conquest of large swathes of territory in Europe and central Asia were all marked by tolerance of other creeds and faith.

Again, it is important to remember that Allah declares it IMPOSSIBLE that Islam can be forced on a person, hence Muslims find it useless to try!

Posted by: Zain at September 15, 2006 01:59 PM

If fundamentalist christians reacted the same way muslims do to criticism, the whole of the USA would be ablaze with "christian terrorism".

That it isn't, speaks volumes.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 15, 2006 01:59 PM

Nope, fundamental christians simply bomb abortion clinics. It is amusing that the pope be making these comments;, he was a Hitler Youth, the head of a church that colluded with the Nazis, a church that sanctioned genocide in Africa and much of the New World in stealing the land and wealth of the indigenous people, a church that gave the world the Inquisition and...wait, covers up the raping of alter boys.

Posted by: SoWhat at September 15, 2006 03:35 PM


when was the last abortion clinic bombed? and even so, in a country of over 250million christians an act of christian theological violence happens once a year if at all, yet in countries with less than a million muslims, violence is as much a reality as their beards and burqas. liberals always try to fight an argument with "i know you are but what am i" but when we're practical about this, the two acts just dont compare AT ALL!!

Posted by: k-det at September 15, 2006 05:02 PM

Dear Zain,
Shut up and sell that crap somewhere else.

In countries where you kill off the those that know, and fail to educate the ones following behind, it's easy to re write whatever you'd like.

Lies, no matter how many times told are still lies.

I do appreciate how Muslims are always yelling about how "If you ever call me violent - I'm gonna come over there and kick your @ss.!!"

People are falling for it.

You can see how much the rest of the world is really starting to love those crazy Islamic folk.

Posted by: Jeff in Kabul at September 16, 2006 03:22 PM


The two verses you cite from The Bible are certainly taken out of context. The passage from Luke is from a parable, where the character in the parable makes that comment; it is not a statement of the Christian faith.

As to the quote from Matthew, the statement itself is a quote from the Old Testament book of Micah (7:6); furthermore, it is a true statement that following Christ often results in turning family member against family member, a tug-of-war between those who believe and those who do not -- ironically, much like today's struggle of Christianity and Islam. Quite prophetic.

Naturally, if your point is one of how context can influence the argument, then your quotes from Matthew and Luke are understandable.

However, if, as I suspect, these quotes were made as an indictment of The Bible and Christianity in order to place Islam on some kind of moral equivalence with Christianity, then you're sadly off base.

I grow weary of the argument (even the company line trumpeted by President Bush) that Islam is a peaceful faith, that violence is frowned upon, etc., etc. Current events speak for themselves: bombings, violence, protests and threats of violence whenever Islam or Mohammad's authority is even questioned or is the subject of satire (the recent Dutch cartoons spoofing Mohammad come to mind).

In contrast, Christianity and so-called "Bible Belt" Christians are regularly ridiculed, satirized, diminished, winked-at, relegated to the Bible-thumping mountain hick stereotype, and written off on a daily basis, not to mention Christianity's negative treatment in popular entertainment, without so much as a shooting, kidnapping, beheading, or bombing - smart-aleck comments about abortion clinics aside (and c'mon SoWhat, how many of those have happened compared to the WORLDWIDE phenomenon of violence that followers of Islam have spawned in just the last 20 years alone?).

The proof is in the pudding. Add the number of persons killed by twisted human beings claiming Christianity as their inspiration during the last 50 years in one column and compare it to the atrocities committed by followers of Islam in the other. I'm betting the ratio is one to ten thousand, weighted on the side of Islam.

Oh -- and Zain? You can go on quoting the Koran all day long and its emphasis on peace. If the average Muslim on the streets of the middle east believes their doing the will of Allah by murdering innocents or applauding those who do, your words are meaningless.

Judging Islam by what they do instead of what they say, there is only one conclusion: Either Islam is evil, or significant plurality of its followers are. So doctor: heal thyself (and your faith) or shut up.

Posted by: Atticus_NC at September 16, 2006 04:03 PM

Firstly Jeff: "Shut up and sell that crap somewhere else." Why should i because i have a view different from yours? Where’s free speech and all that gone? If you don’t like it don’t read it.

Secondly Atticus_NC: "However, if, as I suspect, these quotes were made as an indictment of The Bible and Christianity in order to place Islam on some kind of moral equivalence with Christianity, then you're sadly off base." At this time it is essential to remember Islam looks at the teachings of Christianity in basic form teachings of Jesus a prophet, thus we are taught to respect Christianity.

Back to the point at hand:

Don’t judge a religion by the actions of a few idiots!

The problem nowadays is (which I have never seen before) the fact people are no longer judging Islam by reading the Quran and studying the prophet but are looking to politically and finacially motivated individuals in the modern world as well as the media for an interpretation of Islam which is clearly wrong! Seems the pope is one of these people!


The paragraph above also applies the people in the picture. But you take about free speech but when they do it you condemn it.


If the pope was right why are the Vatican not supporting such claims? If such claim where true why Pope John Paul was is adamant to build bridges, surly if what the pope said to day was true pope John Paul would never have wanted to get involved with anything Islamic.

What about the Crusades, the Muslim world does not blame Christianity for that. Muslims believe in all Prophets sent by Allah, and so do not misuse or misinterpret the religious texts of other faiths in order to defame them. Even in recent times, Muslims have and are facing genocidal campaigns in Bosnia, Kosova, Chechnia, Kashmir, and Palestine - but they have not questioned Judaism and Christianity. Such spirit needs to be reciprocated.

Posted by: Zain at September 16, 2006 05:12 PM

By picture i meant pictures of those people burning that model of the pope in the news etc.

Posted by: Zain at September 16, 2006 05:17 PM

Zain, SoWhat -

When someone from CAIR recently said that Jesus would have been a Muslim, where were the hundreds of thousands of Christians taking to the streets in protest? Where were the signs that said, "Behead those who insult Christians"? Where were the burning cars? Burning flags? Burning effigies? Where were mosques fire-bombed? Where were Muslim reporters kidnapped and forced to convert to Christianity? How many trains and subways have Christians blown up lately?

Your comparisons are weak and pathetic. The worst part is that you just don't realize the difference.

Posted by: SouthernRoots at September 16, 2006 11:28 PM

As an American-Moslem, I know Islam well to tell you the Pope is stating historical facts. I was shocked to see the Pope retract what he said. Why say "I am sorry" when there is nothing to be sorry about. I think it is time for these retarded people speaking on behalf of all moslems to either be quiet or wake up. A violent Islam is not the word of GOD, what happened in the past was wrong, they should be sorry on behalf of heir ancestors. But at the same time, at the age of the Crusades and other Holy wars, Jihad or Holy war was not just Moslems, other people were doing it to. Many kings and countries used religion as a pretex for war, Islam was not unique. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. It was criminal then and it is criminal now. Kids are raised learning Islam and the sword are one. Jews raise their kids to defend their religion by force. This must stop. Time out. Another proof why religions of the past don't work today. The only flavor of religion that we need is one that is in the place of worship not on the battlefield. The Pope should not appologize, other people, like what I am doing should support him to.
Moslems all over the world are terrorized by the fanatic criminal element taking over Islam.

Posted by: Abdulla Bin-Abeeh at September 17, 2006 10:17 AM

Spreading religious doctrine through the use of force, violence and cruelty? Oh, surely only radical Islam could be accused of such.

Posted by: Maudiemae at September 17, 2006 10:59 AM
Spreading religious doctrine through the use of force, violence and cruelty? Oh, surely only radical Islam could be accused of such. Inquisition.

Posted by Maudiemae at September 17, 2006 10:59 AM

Maudiemae - get real, that was hundreds of years ago. Compare TODAY's Christian practices with TODAY's radical Muslem practices. Christians left that behaviour behind, the radical Muslems haven't.

I guess you're saying that we just have to put up with it for a few hundred more years.

Posted by: SouthernRoots at September 17, 2006 11:30 AM

Islam coming to the West is similar to that old Twilight Zone episode where the alien told the people of the world they were only here "to serve man". In the end of the program you learn that is that name of a book one of them has. To Serve Man - it's a cook book.

Islam is the religion of peace only when there is a single Muslim alone in a room. As soon as two of them get together, if they can't find someone else to fight, they'll fight each other.

While Christians are forgiven their sins, Muslims are not. Christians have 10 commandments, Muslims have 10,000. Muslims have rules whether a man should stand or sit to urinate (sit) which way the bathroom should face, how many times to perform a set series of motions in which direction while praying 5 times a day, can you paint your child's face (decorate yes, animals no), can you let your trousers sag (no). Remember, it's not "no, that's in bad taste" it's "no, you will burn in hell for eternity".

As to it being the fastest growing, that is true. Since most of there adherents are from third world countries in the past they had families of 10 and only 3 survived to adulthood, thus the four wives bit. Now, if only one blows himself up killing kuffer (filthy vile infidels) the other nine are added to the final tally. Because of western medicine they have a net gain of 6 and they're the fastest growing.

Posted by: Jeff in Kabul at September 17, 2006 03:07 PM

Wow... I can not believe the number of thick headed racists in this country.

On another note...
"Compare TODAY's Christian practices with TODAY's radical Muslem practices. Christians left that behaviour behind, the radical Muslems haven't."
True, but our crime is just more subtle now:

Posted by: joe at September 17, 2006 10:04 PM

Well Islam is a Religion of Peace....
oops we blew up the WTC..

Islam means peace...
oops we blew up Bali...

Islam is a peaceful Religion...
OOooops we killed Daniel Pearl...

Islam teaches us peace...
Oops we killed a Nun...

Posted by: The Truth Speaks at September 18, 2006 06:26 AM

Before 9/11 you'd be hard pressed to find a member of the general public you thought Islam was about violence, truth be told on-one really cared but suddenly after 9/11 Islam is spread by the sword this, Mohammad (pbuh) is evil that! Why? Lack of knowledge and believing all the press tell you. Words like RADICLE Islam etc. THERES NO SUCH THING anything, like 9/11 is not RADICLE ISLAM its simply not from Islam.

"If anyone has killed one person [unjustly] it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind, and if he has saved one life it is as if he saved the whole of mankind."
Quran 5:32

I am a Muslim and wish for nothing but peace as Islam teaches:

[O humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know and deal with each other in kindness (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God (is he who is) the most righteous of you, and God is Knower, Aware.] (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Admittedly the reason Islam has such a bad rep is because individuals have taken the own motives (finical or political) and left the teachings of Islam altogether yet still believe they are Muslim.

Posted by: Zain at September 19, 2006 03:55 AM